We’ve all heard or experienced the horror stories of terrible home service companies. Horrible service, requesting payment upfront then not completing the job, low quality work, rudeness, being uninsured, and the list goes on.
Fortunately for homeowners, we now live in the age of information! You now have the ability to do your research and make an informed decision to select the most qualified home service provider for your family. We want to make it even easier for you to educate yourself and make the best decision to fit your needs, so we’ve committed to producing articles and videos like this to provide you with all the information you need during your decision-making process!
To kick things off, we’re going to discuss the 8 MUST-ASK questions before hiring a cleaning contractor. Follow these simple guidelines and use the contractor checklist provided below to avoid unprofessional, unsafe, and unscrupulous contractors!
- What kind of reputation do you have?
Trust is the most important thing when selecting a home service company. You want to make sure they have a good reputation in the community. You can discover this for yourself by searching for them on Google, Facebook, and other online review sites. You’re looking for a company with a high overall rating of 4.5 stars or more, and you want to be sure they have plenty of reviews to give you a true sense of the community’s thoughts on the company. In our area, the three top-rated companies have over 80 Google reviews and at least 25 Facebook reviews.In addition to the company’s reviews, you want to look at their engagement with the community. You can do this most easily by browsing their social media pages. Do they post frequent and professional content? Are their followers liking, commenting, and sharing their posts? Do they help and support other local businesses? All of these things can help you gain a better understanding of how the company is viewed in the community.
- What kind of training do you have?
Your home is your most valuable asset, and you want to protect it from wear and tear, as well as costly damages. Allowing an untrained or poorly trained contractor to clean your home could result in expensive damages or unnecessary wear and tear to your home! Believe it or not, the pressure washing industry consists mostly of novice cleaners who have learned the trade through YouTube videos and Facebook forums produced by other novice cleaners!A top-quality cleaning company will invest in professional training from industry leaders with decades of experience. Every member of the team should be certified for their position with a combination of online and in-field training and the knowledge verified with written tests and hands-on proficiency cards. These certificates should be available for you to view and verify at your request.This education should be extensive and provide the technician with the knowledge to do the job effectively and efficiently, as well as provide them with a deeper understanding of the chemicals and equipment used. Every member of the team should be able to thoroughly answer any questions you have about the process.
- What kind of experience do you have?
A company’s level of experience goes hand in hand with their ability to complete a project safely and efficiently. An experienced company will have thousands of happy customers, representing thousands of properly completed projects. An experienced company will be able to explain exactly how to handle your cleaning project safely, using the best equipment, chemicals, or methods to fit the specific situation. Some companies are part of a larger network of cleaning companies that provide them a wealth of experience which is highly valuable to you because that company can call upon another professional who has experienced your issue and can provide you with the right solution rather than trying to figure it out on their own and using your home as a guinea pig for their experiments!
- How do you give back to the community?
A truly great company will move beyond taking good care of their customers and will begin to give back to their community and endeavor to make it a better place to live and work for everyone. There are many ways a company may choose to do this. Some companies will sponsor local teams and events, such as a cheerleading squad or a banner at football games. Other companies will donate a portion of their proceeds to a charitable cause, such as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Another way a company may give back to their community is through participation in local organizations and clubs, such as the American Legion, Lions Club, Leadership EXCEL, and other similar organizations.
- What kind of guarantee do you have?
A good cleaning company should be able to guarantee their work and actually back the guarantee through their actions. The first part of this should be a 100% money-back guarantee for the work performed. If you do not believe they performed the work to the standard agreed upon, they should not charge you until they have reached the standard.Additionally, they should guarantee correction of damages to your property caused by negligence or improper practices. While some things are the responsibility of the homeowner, such as ensuring electrical fixtures were properly installed and sealed, other things are the responsibility of the cleaning company and should be guaranteed against damage. The responsibilities of each party should be clearly stated in a terms of service agreement and provided upfront by the company.Finally, some companies are able to offer a warranty on some services. Very few local companies offer any warranties, but some offer a 5-year roof cleaning warranty. A warranty is only good as long as the business issuing it remains in business. That’s why it’s important for the warranty to be issued by a company that will be around for years to come. Some local companies offer a warranty backed by a 30-year-old, industry-leading chemical and equipment manufacturing company, which guarantees your warranty will be honored for its full 5-year lifespan.
- Do you use safe & environmentally friendly methods and chemicals?
Any reputable cleaning company should use chemicals that are 100% biodegradable, low VOC, and non-hazardous. Additionally, the company should only use professional-grade products that are designed for exterior cleaning. Some companies will use store-bought products, such as Dawn dish soap or laundry detergent, that are not meant for exterior cleaning and that are not compatible with one another. This will not only affect the quality of the work performed but could result in a dangerous situation since some chemicals can become unstable when improperly mixed. Finally, any professional cleaning company should have all chemical safety data sheets in the truck for you to review upon request.
- Can you provide a business license and certificate of insurance?
It is illegal for a cleaning company to operate without state and local licenses, general liability insurance, and workers compensation insurance. For your own protection, be sure to always ask for verification of these items. Some companies will use a third-party company, such as Ask The Seal, to verify this and offer you peace of mind, but you should also be able to request a paper copy of all licenses and insurance.
- Do you conduct criminal background checks and random drug testing?
A good cleaning company will conduct background checks and drug tests on all team members to protect you from untrustworthy people on your property. Some companies will create their own name badges to create the allure of safety for you, but only a third-party verified background check with an issued ID badge can truly provide you the peace of mind you deserve. Ask The Seal is a great third-party company that will verify a company’s licenses, insurance, conduct background checks on all employees, and issue ID badges with a scannable QR code for you to see the employees’ online profile and know that they have passed the proper checks!